Before Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff was going to be asked questions from the media, he wanted to take a moment and acknowledge the tragedy at Oxford High School, a public school in Oakland County, Michigan that endured a school shooting on Tuesday, resulting in the deaths of at least four people.
“You never think it’s going to happen so close to you and so close to home,” Goff said. “You hear about it, and our thoughts are with them and their families. I know myself and all of my teammates and our team will be looking for ways to help support and really be that positive light for these people right now in such a hard time.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Goff has been close to an incident like this. In 2018 while with the Los Angeles Rams, there was a mass shooting at a bar that left 12 people deal in Thousand Oaks—just a couple miles from the team’s practice facility.
The Rams responded by reaching out to the families impacted by that tragedy and bringing something positive into their lives in what was one of the most difficult times to endure.
“Obviously there was some financial help, but more than that was just being there for those families,” Goff said. “We got to meet a lot of the families of the victims in practice, and then we had that Monday night game against the Chiefs where we hosted them there at that game, and it was just a special night. To see them after the game, just a week removed from losing a family member, the light of joy that we can provide to people at times like that, it’s not to be understated. It’s part of our responsibility, I think, as leaders of the community and just what we’re able to do to help raise those people up and be there for them.”
Lions head coach Dan Campbell was also clearly affected by the shooting, as he, too, opened his Wednesday press conference with a statement.
“Our heart goes out to the Oxford community,” Campbell said. “It’s awful. Nobody should have to deal with that. Just prayers go out to the families and the friends and everybody involved. That goes from myself to our players, the whole Lions community. It’s awful.”
Campbell, along with defensive line coach Todd Wash, mentioned as fathers themselves, this tragedy hits home.
“I reached out to (my daughter) this morning, told her, ‘Have a good day,’ and just wanted to make sure that she knows I care about her,” Campbell said. “I think that’s the biggest thing. We’re not guaranteed anything on this Earth. You just live each moment like it could be your last because you don’t know. That’s kind of the reality behind it. It’s awful.”
Wash, too, has had a close brush with a shooting. Back in 1999, he was recruiting for Fort Lewis College in Denver, Colorado. His area of recruiting included Columbine High School, where one of the first and most deadly school shootings in America occurred.
“I was recruiting in Colorado during Columbine when that happened. I was in Denver, so it hits home,” Wash said. “You know, I’ve got a son that has to go to school every day, so it’s scary. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. It hits, just because we all have children and when they go to school they should be safe. That’s not the case, so that hits a little bit with all of us, as a parent.”
After the shooting on Tuesday, the Lions offered the following statement via social media.
We share in the heartbreak felt by all of those impacted by today’s tragic events in Oxford. We as an organization extend our prayers to the victims and offer support to the entire Oxford community during this painful time.